Marsden Primary Director
Jennifer Ioannou started with us in January 2020 as our Director of Marsden Primary.
Jennifer is the past Principal of St Anthony’s School in Seatoun and has extensive experience in independent school settings, having taught for six years in the Prep School at Scots College and five years in the Junior School at Queen Margaret College. “The opportunity to lead and teach in an independent school setting, which has the distinct advantage of smaller, same year group classes and exceptional access to teaching resources, is a real privilege”, says Jennifer.
Jennifer was born in Yellowknife, Canada and most of her family live overseas. She came to New Zealand almost by accident, “We actually stopped in NZ for six months after living in South Africa for four years and were on our way back to Canada. My family and I loved NZ so much, we never left!”
Growing up in a keen golfing family, Jennifer began lessons at 10-years-old and most school holidays were spent playing on a beautiful course somewhere in New Zealand. She played competitively during secondary school and considered pursuing a professional golfing career. “However, in the end, I decided to go to Massey University in Palmerston North to train as a primary school teacher as I looked forward to the opportunity to inspire the future generation.” Jennifer says she enjoyed school a lot and Physical Education, Maths and English were her favourite subjects. “I was fortunate at school to be given leadership positions, such as being a House Captain in the 6th form (Year 12) and Head of Junior School in the 7th form (Year 13). Through these leadership opportunities, I knew that I wanted to be a teacher as I loved working with children.”
Love of Learning
Jennifer has a great love of learning and has shown warmth and kindness that has resonated with students, staff and parents alike. “I love learning - I have a Master's Degree in Educational Administration and Leadership and studied part-time for six years while I was working full-time as a teacher and Principal.” In fact “Love of Learning” is one of Jennifer’s top Character Strengths, alongside Honesty and Social Intelligence. Her goal early on was getting to know each of her Primary School girls individually and she is doing the same with their parents and caregivers.
The positive, happy environment at Marsden that focuses on the girls’ wellbeing and places them in the best state for learning is key for our girls in the Marsden Primary School
Jennifer is seen greeting and fare-welling the girls at both ends of the day. “This is a great touch point with the girls even if I haven’t taught them that day”, she says “and a good opportunity to see the parents, too. My daily focus is that our girls are happy, engaged, challenged and supported; prepared for a future where they can be confident and connected, contributing with strong values, ability and citizenship. The positive, happy environment at Marsden that focuses on the girls’ wellbeing and places them in the best state for learning is key for our girls in the Marsden Primary School”, says Jennifer.
Beyond the classroom
Jennifer’s love for children extends beyond the school gates, “I am passionate about children having the opportunity to grow up in a loving family, so in my spare time, I am involved in an Intercountry Adoption charity. We facilitate the adoption of orphan children from Chile, India and Thailand into New Zealand families.”
Outside of the classroom, Jennifer enjoys spending time with her family and friends, walking her dog through the city and Oriental Bay, as well as exercising at pilates and yoga classes. She also enjoys playing golf at Paraparaumu Beach Golf Club where her parents live and where she can enjoy walking on the beach.